A project for all ages, all walks of life, all experiences.
The world is collectively experiencing unprecedented times with the fast progression of the coronavirus. Time seems to be moving differently. Hours feel like days, while days can feel like weeks with the everchanging nature of the virus. Therefore, it can be important, not just for now, but for decades later, for individuals to consider documenting their experiences during this time. This sparked the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Archives and Area Research Center to create Community Voices: Stories for the Archives. This is a program in which people are invited to share their stories during this time with the Archives, and for perpetuity.
Personnel in the Archives have created a brief series of questions meant to serve as journal prompts. Some of the questions touch upon how daily life has changed, what precautions are being taken, what is helping people cope and what emotions are being felt. Individuals can answer as many or as few of the questions as they like. Individuals can also remain anonymous and respond more than once as their circumstances change. Share your story, here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deb Anderson, coordinator of the Archives and Area Research Center, said the community voices shared so far are telling poignant stories about health concerns, job security as well as humorous accounts of everyone working and schooling from home.
Everyone, including members of the public, are welcome to fill out this survey. Educators of all levels are encouraged to use this with their classes. Parents can also fill it out with their children. Young people often may not get a chance to have a voice in historical records, so this is a great opportunity to do so! Looking ahead to when these times are taught in schools across the world, your voice can be one that is remembered.
Anderson noted that often times, personal experiences, feelings and thoughts are left out of official historical records. “Rather than wait for the historical record to come to the Archives, we want to be part of creating the historical record by saving the stories,” said Anderson. “Our innovative approach to gathering the stories of individuals during this unheard of time in our world will enrich how we can understand this moment in history.”
Regardless if individuals participate in Community Voices, the Archives personnel encourage people to keep diaries and journals, take photos, draw illustrations of your experiences, write letters to yourself, make a family movie or save your blog posts. Create items that can last into the future. Maybe later, you can consider donating a copy to the Archives. One UW-Green Bay student teacher has already planned to donate her students’ journals to Archives at the end of the school year.
To learn more about donating items to the Archives, please contact Deb Anderson at email@example.com.
Story by Marketing and University Communication Intern Joshua Konecke